A provocative take on the Frankenstein mythos, director Laura Moss’s birth/rebirth finds pathologist Rose (Marin Ireland) — who doesn’t have the time or desire to deal with your petty life problems — forming an uneasy alliance with midwife Celie (Judy Reyes) when the latter discovers that Rose is using Celie’s recently suddenly deceased daughter Lila (A.J. Lister) in an experiment designed to bring the dead back to life. Plenty of horror films have questioned how far parents will go to bring back a child who has passed away, but the questionable ethics displayed by the two main characters here go beyond the usual supernatural bargains and such, making them more monstrous than any reanimated corpse. Moss, who cowrote the screenplay with Brendan J. O’Brien, shows assured direction, and Ireland and Reyes have terrific chemistry together. Aficionados of Frankenstein mythology should put this one high on their need-to-see lists, as should fans of medical horror.
Run Rabbit Run
One bizarre turn of behavior leads to another in Australian horror Run Rabbit Run as fertility doctor Sarah (Sarah Snook) tries her best to keep her seven-year-old daughter Mia (Lily LaTorre) from having a relationship with Sarah’s elderly mother Joan (Greta Scacchi). After discovering a white rabbit in front of their home on her birthday, Mia begins to insist that her name is different and that she misses Joan, whom she has yet to meet and from whom Sarah has been estranged, she displays increasingly odd actions, and Sarah in turn begins behaving in disturbing manners. Secrets and the supernatural come into play in director Daina Reid’s well-crafted film, and though it doesn’t offer much new in the “creepy kids with troubled parents” fear-fare department, it boasts top-notch performances from Snook and LaTorre, along with a strong supporting cast, and has a chilling atmosphere.
birth/rebirth and Run Rabbit Run screen as part of Sundance Film Festival, which takes place in-person and online from January 19–29, 2023. For more information, visit https://www.sundance.org/.